More often than not, it’s the little things that can save the day when we’re out shooting. This is why it’s handy to have some items other than photo gear in your camera bag. In this video, Michael Shainblum recommends six items that you should always carry with you. They won’t take much space, they all cost under $50, and they can be incredibly useful when you’re in the field.
1. Mini tripod
A mini-tripod is a great thing to carry with you for a few reasons. First, if you want to have a backup tripod, it’s handier to carry a compact one like this. It’s perfect if you want to get low with your camera and get some low-angle shots. And also, you can use it even in the places where it’s forbidden to set up a regular tripod. Michael uses this one from Neewer and it costs just under $50.
The main function of an intervalometer like this is to trigger your camera remotely. This way you won’t have any camera shake when shooting long exposures or using your camera on a Bulb mode. What’s more, it can also be handy for self-portraits and absolutely necessary if you shoot timelapse.
3. Rocket blower
A rocket blower is another cheap and handy tool to have with you. Michael uses it to quickly remove a large spec of dust if it gets stuck on a sensor while he’s in the field. However, I still advise you to clean your sensor properly when you get home. It’s also great to have a rocket blower around to clean dust or water droplets off your lens.
4. Gaff tape
The almighty gaff tape can be used in a variety of ways if you are a photographer or a filmmaker. Michael always has it with him and uses it to rig stuff up, to tape the lights for night shots, or for quick fixes.
5. Rain cover
A rain cover is apparently not something you’ll always use. But when it starts to rain, you’ll sure be happy to have one around. They’re really cheap and easy to use. Sure, your camera and lens should be able to handle light rain… But if it really starts pouring, a rain cover is a lifesaver. Or if you wanna DIY it, a plastic bag could do, too.
6. Lens skirt
The final accessory Michael mentions is a lens skirt. It’s not as useful for landscape as it is for cityscape photography, though, but it’s definitely useful to have it with you if you shoot cityscapes through the glass. For example, many observation decks are indoors and they’re surrounded by windows, so you’ll need a lens skirt to remove the reflections from the glass when you’re shooting.
Once again, you can improvise by using your extra shirt or hoodie, like this. Or perhaps fix it to the glass and the lens with some of that gaff tape. See, I told you gaff tape is useful.
What are your favorite cheap pieces of gear that you always have on you? My camera bag has a ton of knick-knacks, but a wireless trigger and a Lumiee/KYU-6 Bi-Color LED bracelet are the two things I absolutely never leave at home.